Do you have a TED talk in you?


QMDo you have a big idea to share and a compelling story to tell?

Are you passionate about voicing the big ‘why’ behind what you do to inspire your tribe?

Would your organisation or business benefit greatly from your own powerful TED-like talk to be filmed in front of a live audience?

continue reading

Beginner’s Mind, Zen Mind


buddhist_monk‘How do they get non stick material to stick on non stick pans?’ A user question posed to Richard Cornish, the columnist of Vexing Culinary Questions. Puzzled and unable to answer, he asked his 8-year-old daughter. ‘Simple,’ she replied, ‘It’s non stick on one side only!’

continue reading

How to use private discourse to surprise and delight your audience


political-discourseI was recently talking to the CEO of a large, global professional services company that had run a massive event for its clients. At the end of the PowerPoint central presentation, they asked members of the audience for feedback and received lots of polite positives.
The CEO, however, confided in us, saying: ‘We could detect a lack of sincerity in their voices.’ He was sensing the undercurrent of a conflicting private discourse. Private discourse is what people are really thinking but don’t say. Often private discourse can be masked by a very polite public discourse that conceals the truth.
The CEO was right! An anonymous online survey afterwards showed that attendees were less than impressed with the event. The CEO and his team listened to the feedback and substantially altered the next event. It was much more successful.
What happens when you become aware of the private discourse & it’s contrary to the public discourse? You can choose to step into a moment of authenticity and create a deep connection with your audience.
One of our clients Jack—was presenting at a roadshow. He told us employee attendance was compulsory, though he knew they would all be thinking but not saying: ‘Oh no, not another road show.’
Jack, as a senior leader, decided to step into the private discourse and opened by saying: ‘I know a
lot of you might be thinking: “Not another bloody roadshow!”
It was both unexpected and refreshing. His audience immediately burst into laughter. They’d been outed, but here was a leader who understood what they were thinking and feeling. They leaned in and listened.
Articulating the private discourse helps you show empathy and understanding for your audience, creating powerful connections and demonstrating courage.

Three Must Know Life – Changing Global Work Trends


YaminiI’ve just spent September criss-crossing the globe, working with leaders, entrepreneurs and educators in the UK, Canada and USA. Is there a point to this shameless bragging?! Yes: I discovered three emerging trends that fill me with optimism. 

The quest for purpose  

Businesses are in search of meaning. Hitting profit and performance goals alone seems strangely hollow. Companies now need to know what difference their work makes in the world. Leading this shift are companies likToms. The shoe company’s purpose is not footwear; it’s about improving lives. 

Dr Raj Sisodia’s book, Firms of Endearment, is a key work in the pursuit of a conscious approach to capitalism. Simply stated, doing good is good for business. Thought leader Carolyn Tate nails it when she declares ‘I believe the biggest disruption in the business world in the next 10 years is not going to come from advancements in technology, but from advancements towards purpose.’ 

The ‘humanising’ of work

This is my label for a smorgasbord of initiatives. A key focus is untethering employees from the 24/7 demands of technology. At the vanguard is German company Daimler which created a vacation email tool. Describing the impact, board member Wilfried Porth said: “Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work-related emails. With ‘Mail on Holiday’ they start back after the holidays with a clean desk. There is no traffic jam in their inbox. That is an emotional relief.”  

Author and entrepreneur Arianna Huffington’s work is seminal to this shift. Inspired by Daimler, she says: “At HuffPost we’ve always made it very clear that no one is expected to check work email and respond after hours, over the weekend, or while they’re on vacation.”  

While email might be the most insidious ball and chain that tethers us, there are many other imaginative ways to humanise work – it’s best to ask the humans in your workplace what would work for them. 

The rise of mindful practices in leadership and day-to-day business 

Mindfulness has gone mainstream more quickly than kale in the past decade, with the charge led by companies such as Google and Apple. While mindfulness might evoke stereotypical images of cross-legged Buddhist monks and incense, nothing is further from the truth.  

Harvard Business Review defines mindfulness as  ‘practicing non-judgmental, present-moment awareness’ and states that it changes the brain in ways that anyone working in today’s complex business environment – and certainly every leader – should know about. 

Backed by decades of robust neuroscience and delivering measurable business results (increased engagement, productivity and innovation) mindfulness allows the ability to focus, with a clear and calm mind.  

It’s the difference between working every day with a mind swirling with debris, or a mind as clear as a glass of water. Google now make its program available publicly through the Search Inside yourself Institute. 

Could all this be just a fad though? Like the wheatgrass shots of the ’90s? Two things feel right about these trends. The first is how aligned they are – previously we have always felt the contrary pull of decentralising versus centralisation, off-shoring versus on-shoring. Here, all three trends work in harmony: mindful leaders,leading purposeful work with employees in a humanised workplace. It ticks all my boxes.

It also feels right on another level. I don’t think we’ll look back on this – like we do with the  images of mullets from the 80’s – and say WHAT were we thinking?

In fact, we might look back and be able to pinpoint the exact moment when both work and business emerged as a force for good.

Books Referenced in the blog –